I'm an artist, fairly new to the furry community (couple of years now....2 or 3 maybe?) I also enjoy commissioning other artists, both because I enjoy their work and because it's fun and interesting to see another artist's take on your characters. The one thing that I have unfortunately noticed is that getting some artists to keep in touch, or to even return emails in regards to commissions that are in limbo, is pretty hard. Now this isn't all artists, I've had some amazing pieces done by Dark Natasha, for example, and they're always done when I'm told they will be. Plus, she's always been good about keeping me posted and sending a scan of the art before it's mailed. And the art is consistently the same high quality that got me to commission her in the first place, even when in the middle of a convention rush. I mention her by name only because I anticipate some response of "well some artists are more popular/busy than others, and so don't communicate via email, etc. as much." So I figure she's a decent example, being as every time I see her at cons she's swamped with work. I can only assume it's similar when she's at home working on stuff.
My question then, is how to be a good commissioner. What, as artists, do you all prefer to see from people commissioning you? What is a reasonable amount of time before it's understandable to get a bit peeved that your artist isn't getting back to you, of hasn't finished a piece? For example I currently have 3 sketch commissions I'm waiting on. One is going on 4 months now, and the artist has gone to other cons, done other art for people, and has not yet shown me anything other than a very rough character sketch, with none of the background. This only after emailing them every 2-3 weeks to touch base and see how things were going. Now for an inked or colored piece, I wouldn't bat at eye at this timeline. But a sketch? The second is a set of 2 sketches, small (5x7) Again, sent the money, waited, and watched as they posted a number of new pieces online. Not just 2-d art, but a number of more involved projects that they had just started. This was back on January 20th. I posted in their LJ, asking politely about it, and was asked what email I sent it to. I responded, both in LJ and through email. I have since not heard a word, and have received no responses. Sent another email. Nada.
So I honestly want to know....am I being a "BAD COMMISSIONER"? What is a reasonable amount of time to expect art from someone you've commissioned, when they are doing other projects (understandable, I do the same, I just finish the projects I've been paid for first) and offering other things for sale. I totally get that to be able to pay the bills, we all have to hustle and capitalize on sales when and where we can. I in no way expect the art I commission to be the only thing an artist works on. But am I in the wrong to expect that art is finished in the order which it is paid for, and that the artist in question at least gives a quick email letting me know that Auntie Matilda died, and they are behind in finishing up art because they had to go to her funeral? I really want to avoid becoming one of "those" people, but I've had other experiences with this sort of thing. Are my expectations unreasonable, or do I just keep getting artists who don't treat their art like a serious business?
Thanks, and look forward to hearing your thoughts! :3